First day back after the half-term holiday and it’s immediately clear what I’ve been reading in my week off. Both this and the piece that follows were written the same morning and both directly inspired by the comic 2000 AD. Like the Judge Dredd story I wrote in my Topic book around the same time (maybe the same week - it’s impossible to know), this tale is based on an actual strip I read in the comic. But where the Dredd story is slavishly copied word for word, this one is different - this one takes liberties, written in my own words, with my own unique new ending. Fiends of the Eastern Front is a story by Gerry Finley-Day with art by Carlos Ezquerra, which ran in 2000 AD from Prog 152 (published on or around February 9th, 1980) to Prog 161 (April 12th). Unusually for 2000 AD, it didn’t feature any sci-fi elements - no aliens, no space, nothing futuristic - instead opting to tell a macabre tale about Eastern European vampires in the second world war. The ‘heroes’ of the story, if you can call them that, are German soldiers, who enlist the help of these vampires (‘Rumanians’ - led by a gaunt figure called Captain Constanta) to defeat the Russian army as they progress eastwards in 1941. I imagine one or two of you might wonder if this was appropriate reading matter for an eight-year-old. I’ve no idea about that. But I do know I must have loved it, or I wouldn’t have dedicated three whole pages to retelling the story. It’s a paraphrase rather than a strict retelling. I don’t think I had any of the comics with me on the day - some of the lines of dialogue are almost word-for-word but not quite, and the details don’t necessarily happen in the right order. So it all has an air of being plucked from memory rather than copied or planned. This works very much to the story’s advantage (if you’re looking for prime quality bad kid writing that’s unintentionally funny) or disadvantage (if you actually want it to be a ‘good’ piece of credible, competent storytelling). But either way, it’s a far, far easier and more interesting read than the slab of words I copied out for The Blood of Satanus (and no more ridiculous). The biggest deviation from the original comic strip, however, is that I’ve provided my own ending. The story had only been running for three weeks so far (the latest edition, Prog 154, had arrived in shops just two days prior*) and was still a couple of months from conclusion. Here the first two pages cover the events from the first three instalments, with my tacked-on ending taking up most of the third page. I wish I could say it’s entirely my idea, but it isn’t. The original strip opens in the present day (‘Autumn 1980’ to be precise) with a pair of blokes uncovering the skeleton of Hans Schmitt, looking very much as I’ve drawn him here, sitting in a chair with only his journal for company (I don’t mention this but if you zoom into the picture you’ll see a small representation of ‘Hans Schmitt’s Diary’), surrounded by lifesize silhouettes. The bulk of the story is then told in flashback, a device which I’ve chosen to completely ignore. So it was easy enough to extrapolate something from the evidence I already have. And if you ever decide to read the original, I can reassure you now that it is at least slightly different.
Fiends of the Eastern Front
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Bonfire Night Waen’s first time at the annual village fireworks display
String Orchestra A visit from the North Yorkshire County Council Orchestra
TOPIC 2 The one where it all kicks off
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
TOPIC 1 He knows the names of all the dinosaurs
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
FAIRBURN The place where I wrote all this rubbish
Darth Vader An autograph from a genuine stand-in
Sheet Lightning Waen and his Gran shelter from the sheet- shaped storm
Ward’s 7 John Ward and his band of rebels fight the evil Federation
I don’t find my ending entirely convincing. What kills the Rumanians? Why are they just shadows on the wall? If Hans died instantly, had he already written his diary? Why is the diary even there, when I didn’t use it as a narrative-framing device? Why, after he was dead, did he end up sitting down? The real ending, as written by Finley-Day, isn’t entirely convincing either, but I won’t ruin it for you. *Nerdy Note for Comic-Dating Fans I was thrilled to discover on reading this that, while my memories of buying 2000 AD every Saturday as a kid are at odds with the paper’s insistence it was ‘In Orbit Every Monday’ (as splashed on its front cover each week), I’ve now got hard evidence that I was right. The events in the story are pulled fresh from Prog 154, with a cover date of Saturday March 1st. If it was out the previous Monday, as the cover suggests, that would make it the same day as me writing this. Which would mean I’d have had to get up at the crack of dawn, ask my Dad to drive me to the nearest town (Castleford, where he worked) and buy the comic there (because we didn’t have a newsagent in Fairburn). Then Dad would have to drive me back a couple of miles to the village, before taking a second Castleford trip back to work. I’d then have to read the comic hurriedly in the morning before going to school (presumably late now, and on the first day of half-term), so I could digest it fully over the course of the morning and write it up later in the day. Not very likely. So breathe deep and easy - we now know it’s 99.9% certain I bought it on Saturday instead.
The Story of Nelson - Part 2
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
INSPIRED BY…
Captain Carnivore Gary Shepherd is hunted down by a deadly flying meteor
Florence Nightingale What if Florence Nightingale had lived in the Year 2000?
Optical Illusion Time Amazing visual tricks that will boggle your mind!
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
Ward’s 7 John Ward and his band of rebels fight the evil Federation
The Fugitive A man runs - but who is he? And what is he running from?
Fiends of the
Eastern Front
First day back after the half-term holiday and it’s immediately clear what I’ve been reading in my week off. Both this and the piece that follows were written the same morning and both directly inspired by the comic 2000 AD. Like the Judge Dredd story I wrote in my Topic book around the same time (maybe the same week - it’s impossible to know), this tale is based on an actual strip I read in the comic. But where the Dredd story is slavishly copied word for word, this one is different - this one takes liberties, written in my own words, with my own unique new ending. Fiends of the Eastern Front is a story by Gerry Finley- Day with art by Carlos Ezquerra, which ran in 2000 AD from Prog 152 (published on or around February 9th, 1980) to Prog 161 (April 12th). Unusually for 2000 AD, it didn’t feature any sci-fi elements - no aliens, no space, nothing futuristic - instead opting to tell a macabre tale about Eastern European vampires in the second world war. The ‘heroes’ of the story, if you can call them that, are German soldiers, who enlist the help of these vampires (‘Rumanians’ - led by a gaunt figure called Captain Constanta) to defeat the Russian army as they progress eastwards in 1941. I imagine one or two of you might wonder if this was appropriate reading matter for an eight- year-old. I’ve no idea about that. But I do know I must have loved it, or I wouldn’t have dedicated three whole pages to retelling the story. It’s a paraphrase rather than a strict retelling. I don’t think I had any of the comics with me on the day - some of the lines of dialogue are almost word-for- word but not quite, and the details don’t necessarily happen in the right order. So it all has an air of being plucked from memory rather than copied or planned. This works very much to the story’s advantage (if you’re looking for prime quality bad kid writing that’s unintentionally funny) or disadvantage (if you actually want it to be a ‘good’ piece of credible, competent storytelling). But either way, it’s a far, far easier and more interesting read than the slab of words I copied out for The Blood of Satanus (and no more ridiculous). The biggest deviation from the original comic strip, however, is that I’ve provided my own ending. The story had only been running for three weeks so far (the latest edition, Prog 154, had arrived in shops just two days prior*) and was still a couple of months from conclusion. Here the first two pages cover the events from the first three instalments, with my tacked-on ending taking up most of the third page. I wish I could say it’s entirely my idea, but it isn’t. The original strip opens in the present day (‘Autumn 1980’ to be precise) with a pair of blokes uncovering the skeleton of Hans Schmitt, looking very much as I’ve drawn him here, sitting in a chair with only his journal for company (I don’t mention this but if you zoom into the picture you’ll see a small representation of ‘Hans Schmitt’s Diary’), surrounded by lifesize silhouettes. The bulk of the story is then told in flashback, a device which I’ve chosen to completely ignore. So it was easy enough to extrapolate something from the evidence I already have. And if you ever decide to read the original, I can reassure you now that it is at least slightly different.
The Story of Nelson - Part 2
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
I don’t find my ending entirely convincing. What kills the Rumanians? Why are they just shadows on the wall? If Hans died instantly, had he already written his diary? Why is the diary even there, when I didn’t use it as a narrative-framing device? Why, after he was dead, did he end up sitting down? The real ending, as written by Finley-Day, isn’t entirely convincing either, but I won’t ruin it for you. *Nerdy Note for Comic-Dating Fans I was thrilled to discover on reading this that, while my memories of buying 2000 AD every Saturday as a kid are at odds with the paper’s insistence it was ‘In Orbit Every Monday’ (as splashed on its front cover each week), I’ve now got hard evidence that I was right. The events in the story are pulled fresh from Prog 154, with a cover date of Saturday March 1st. If it was out the previous Monday, as the cover suggests, that would make it the same day as me writing this. Which would mean I’d have had to get up at the crack of dawn, ask my Dad to drive me to the nearest town (Castleford, where he worked) and buy the comic there (because we didn’t have a newsagent in Fairburn). Then Dad would have to drive me back a couple of miles to the village, before taking a second Castleford trip back to work. I’d then have to read the comic hurriedly in the morning before going to school (presumably late now, and on the first day of half-term), so I could digest it fully over the course of the morning and write it up later in the day. Not very likely. So breathe deep and easy - we now know it’s 99.9% certain I bought it on Saturday instead.
Apeth Badly-spelt high-jinks with a purple gorilla from outer space!
Captain Carnivore Gary Shepherd is hunted down by a deadly flying meteor
Florence Nightingale What if Florence Nightingale had lived in the Year 2000?
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE